Eric Guiltinan is headed for the next stage in his athletic career.
The Golden Hawks running back has forged a role on the football field, but his future seems to lie in the world of professional lacrosse.
On Sept. 16, Guiltinan was selected 29th overall in the National Lacrosse League draft by the Minnesota Swarm. It was a moment he wasn’t sure he’d get to experience.
“I didn’t even know if I was going to get drafted at all in the first place,” he said.
His road to the draft began when he started youth lacrosse. But that was far from his only interest.
“I’ve been playing lacrosse since I was six years old. I play every summer … I played hockey until near the end of high school and I started football in grade nine,” he explained.
This mix of sports was helpful to Guiltinan’s development, especially the combination of football and lacrosse, two sports he believes he has a similar role in.
“They’re pretty similar because I’m a running back,” he said.
“What I do in lacrosse is I run with the ball for a lot of the game, so they’re both really similar in the fact that you have to run a lot, and you have to be ready to avoid contact and hit people.”
Guiltinan’s draft experience was comfortable; with a few close friends from his Kitchener-Waterloo Braves lacrosse team, he sat back and hoped to hear his name called.
Although apprehensive about not being selected, much of Guiltinan’s surprise upon his selection stemmed from the team that chose him.
This was because he had not communicated with Minnesota before the draft, he explained.
“I didn’t really interact with them before the draft like I interacted with the other teams. So I guess I was pretty surprised, but then obviously I was really excited when I heard my name called,” he said.
While teams Guiltinan had talked to included Calgary and Vancouver, Minnesota was eventually the team that decided he was worth a shot.
When he joins the Swarm for training camp in early December, Guiltinan will have to exercise his hard-working nature in order to find a role on a youthful, talented team. This is a challenge he is well aware of.
“They’re a really young team, and they didn’t do so well last year. But I know they have pretty high expectations this year because they are so young, and last year was kind of a learning experience,” he said.
“Getting drafted is pretty cool, but at the end of the day I still have to make the team in order to play for them.”
While he is obviously excited for the chapter he is about to embark on, Guiltinan has not forgotten about his current focus: Wilfrid Laurier University men’s football season.
As Laurier’s 4-1 squad rolls ever closer to a possible playoff berth, Guiltinan talked about the progress his team has made and his eagerness to help further their success.
“The last couple of years … we haven’t had a lot of success, but this year has gone really well so far. This is definitely the best team I’ve been on. It’s been awesome, I’m really excited to see how this year goes.”